Gladding, a grade II winner for trainer John Sadler, will attempt to become the latest California-based horse to win the Texas Mile (gr. III) when the $200,000 event is contested April 23 at Lone Star Park.
Inaugurated in 1997, the Texas Mile was won last year by Mythical Power for trainer Bob Baffert, who also won the race in 2006 with Preachinatthebar and in 1997 with Isitingood. Other California-based winners are Monterey Jazz (2008), Kela (2004), Bluesthestandard (2003), and Dixie Dot Com (2001).
C R K Stable's Gladding, winner of Santa Anita's San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles Feb. 6, will attempt to become the latest. The Florida-bred 4-year-old son of Sarava weakened to 10th in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in his subsequent start March 5, and shortens up considerably for Sadler from the 1 1/4-mile Big 'Cap.
A three-time winner from 11 starts that has earned $161,825, Gladding broke his maiden at the one-mile distance by 17 1/4 lengths at Calder Casino and Race Course last October. He will be ridden for the first time by Arkansas Derby (gr. I) hero Jon Court.
The 123-pound high weight faces just four rivals in the Texas Mile, but two of them, Friesan Fire and Thiskyhasnolimit, are graded stakes winners from the Steve Asmussen stable.
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farms's Friesan Fire returned from an absence of nearly eight months to run third in a one-mile, 70-yard optional claiming allowance March 12 at Fair Grounds, a race he led by three lengths in the stretch.
The 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy captured both the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) and the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) impressively in 2009, but has won just once in eight starts since. His overall mark stands at 5-1-3 in 15 races with earnings of $665,006.
Gabriel Saez, who rode Friesan Fire to his biggest victories but has not been aboard the ridgling since they finished 10th in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in May 2009, regains the mount.
Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner's Thiskyhasnolimit had little success in two starts at Santa Anita for Asmussen but sprang to life in his most recent outing March 12 at Oaklawn Park, finishing second by a half-length to It Happened Again in the Razorback Handicap (gr. III). The 4-year-old Sky Mesa colt won the 2009 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) and seems well-suited to the one-mile distance. Justin Shepherd takes the mount on Thiskyhasnolimit, who has a 4-4-1 lifetime mark in 15 starts and has banked $581,532.
Kate's Main Man won the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn in gate-to-wire style in February but set the pace in the Razorback and faded to fifth. Randy Morse trains Randy Patterson's 6-year-old Bernstein gelding, an 11-time winner in 42 races who gets the services of jockey Cliff Berry.
Three-year-old Dreaminofthewin also ships in from Oaklawn for owner, trainer and co-breeder C.R. Trout. The Successful Appeal colt ran second in the Smarty Jones Stakes in January and most recently finished second in a non-winners of three allowance tilt Feb. 21. He was assigned 114 pounds and will be ridden by Luis Quinonez.
The Texas Mile is the eighth race on the Lone Star program with a 4:51 p.m. CDT probable post.
$200,000 Texas Mile (gr. III, Race 8, 4:51 p.m.), 3 & Up
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Kate's Main Man (IA), M C Berry, 121, R L Morse
2. Dreaminofthewin (KY), L S Quinonez, 114, C R Trout
3. Gladding (FL), J K Court, 123, J W Sadler
4. Friesan Fire (KY), G Saez, 119, S M Asmussen
5. Thiskyhasnolimit (KY), J Shepherd, 119, S M Asmussen